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|Born||12 March 1824|
Königsberg, Kingdom of Prussia
|Died||17 October 1887 (aged 63)|
Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia
|Institutions||University of Berlin |
University of Breslau
University of Heidelberg
|Alma mater||University of Königsberg|
|Doctoral advisor||Franz Ernst Neumann|
|Known for||Kirchhoff's circuit laws |
Kirchhoff's law of thermal radiation
Kirchhoff's laws of spectroscopy
Kirchhoff's law of thermochemistry
|Notable awards||Rumford medal|
Gustav Robert Kirchhoff (12 March 1824 – 17 October 1887) was a German physicist who contributed to the fundamental understanding of electrical circuits, spectroscopy, and radiation by heated objects. He coined the term black body radiation in 1862.
He proposed two sets of independent concepts in both circuit theory and thermal emission. They are all called 'Kirchhoff's laws' after him, as well as a law of thermochemistry. The Bunsen–Kirchhoff Award for spectroscopy is named after him and his colleague, Robert Bunsen. He also discovered rubidium with Bunsen in 1861.
- A 'black body' is an idealised physical body which absorbs all electromagnetic radiation which strikes it, and reflects none. It is also the best possible emitter of thermal radiation (heat).